Features and Motherboard Layout
Courtesy of ASUS
- LGA1151 socket for 6th-gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors.
- Dual DDR4 3733 (OC) support.
- Best gaming performance – 5-Way Optimization with Auto-Tuning, 2nd-generation T-Topology and OC design
- Best gaming audio – reinvented SupremeFX 2015 with intuitive Sonic Studio II.
- Best gaming networking – best-in-class Intel® Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst technology.
- Best gaming protection – carefully-selected premium components to ensure maximum durability.
- ROG gives you more – more gaming-oriented utilities, all free!
As part of ASUS' ROG board line, the ASUS Maximus VIII Gene features the redesigned ROG aesthetics with black coloration and muted red accents on the board's heat sinks. The board logo is loged on the VRM heat sink witth the ROG logo prominently featured on teh chipset heat sink. Even though the board is packed to the gills with features and is of a small form factor design, ASUS designed the layout such that there is more than adequate room to access all integrated components.
The back of the board is mostly devoid of any sensitive chips, with none in close proximity to the CPU socket area. The chips directly under the CPU VRMs are covered with aluminum heat spreaders with the dual purpose of protection and secondary cooling for the power circuitry.
The Maximus VIII Gene motherboard includes the following ports integrated into its rear panel assembly: a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, six USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C), one RJ-45 port tied to the Intel I219-V controller, a DisplayPort video port, an HDMI video port, a BIOS reset button, the USB BIOS Flashback button, an optical audio port, and five analogue audio ports. All blue colored USB 3.0 ports are controlled by the Intel Z170 controller. The two USB 3.1 ports are controlled by the integrated ASMedia controller.
The USB BIOS Flashback button can be used to re-flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI BIOS interface or a command-line mode interface. Simply plug in a USB drive containing the proper BIOS file in the root of the drive into the upper USB 3.1 port (red colored) located left of the USB BIOS Flashbak buton and power on the system. As the BIOS is updated, the LED flashing frequency increases. Once the LED goes out, the flash operation is completed and the board can be booted. Note that if the BIOS Flashback LED flashes for 5 seconds and then glows solid, it means that something went wrong with the flashback operation. Check the USB drive for the the BIOS file in the root and make sure that the BIOS file is named correctly. BIOS Flashback looks for a specific filename and file format when attempting to replace the on-board BIOS. According to the user manual, the BIOS file in the root of the flash drive must be named M8G.CAP for the BIOS Flashback applet to successfully re-flash the board's BIOS.
The Maximus VIII Gene motherboard has a total of three PCI-Express device ports – two PCI-Express x16 slots and one PCI-Express x4 slot. For the PCI-Express x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single card and x8 / x8 bandwidth with cards populating the primary and secondary PCIe x16 slots.
To the upper right of the primary PCIe x1 slot are a 4-pin chassis fan and the CMOS batter. The CMOS battery placement keeps its out from underneath any seat video cards and leaves it easily accessible with a CPU cooler installed.
The M.2 PCIe x4 port is located in between the primary and secondary PCI-Express x16 slots, just above the Intel Z170 chipset heat sink. The board supports M.2 PCIe SSDs up to 110mm in length. Note that the M.2 slot shares bandwidth with SATA port 0. As a result, SATA port 0 is automatically disabled with an M.2 SSD seated in the board.
ASUS integrated the latest version of their ROG audio subsystem, the ROG SupremeFX 2015, into the Maximus VIII Gene motherboard. The audio subsystem lives on an isolated PCB to minimize line-noise and distortion caused by other integrated components. The PCB separator line glows red along its length when the board is powered, keeping to the board's ROG-inspired color scheme. The front panel audio header is located in the upper left corner of the audio PCB, to the lower left of the audio chipset.
In the upper left corner of the board (and along the outer edge of the PCIe x4 slot) are the front panel audio header and the power and reset buttons.
The on-board power, reset, ReTry, and Safe Boot buttons, the OC Panel headers (labeled ROG_EXT), and a USB 2.0 header are located to the lower left of the PCIe x4 slot. The ReTry button forces the system to restart, maintaining the previously set BIOS settings. The Safe Boot button forces the system to reboot with BIOS default settings enforced. The lower header in the ROG_EXT group can be used for two additional USB 2.0 ports if the OC Panel is not connected to the system. The OC Panel cable (bundled in with the ROG OC Panel device) connects to the ROG_EXT ports, allowing the optional ROG OC Panel device to interact with the board.
The USB 2.0 header, LN2 Mode jumper, temperature sensor header, external fan header, chassis fan header, and front panel header are located in the lower left corner of the board. The LN2 Mode jumper (unmarked jumper just above the Probelt voltage measurement points) enables a cold bug fix that can be encountered when attempting to boot a CPU at sub-zero temperatures.
The Intel Z170 Express chipset is covered by a low profile, aluminum heat sink featuring the ROG logo with red highlights on its black brushed surface.
ASUS designed the Z170-A board with a total of two SATA 6 Gb/s ports and two SATA-Express 10 Gb/s ports. All drive ports are located directly under the chipset. The SATA-Express ports house two SATA 6 Gb/s ports each that can be used as stand alone ports as well, adding an additional four SATA 6 Gb/s ports to the board. Note that SATA port 0 is automatically disabled by the BIOS when an M.2 SSD is seated in the integrated M.2 slot.
The on-board DDR4 memory slots are located just below the CPU socket in the lower right quadrant of the board. Dual Channel memory mode is enabled by seating memory modules in like colored slots with slots 2 and 4 (the gray colored slots) being the primary memory slots. The board supports up to 64GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3600MHz. Note that memory speeds above 2133MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. Directly below the memory port block are a USB 3.0 header, the 24-pin ATX power connector, and multiple 4-pin chassis fan headers.
To the right of the DIMM slots are the MemOK! button, the 2-digit diagnostic display, and the Probelt voltage measurement points. A 4-pin header is located to the upper right of the DIMM slots that can be used to power an AIO cooler's integrated coolant pump (labeled W_PUMP). The MemOK! button can be used to reset memory-related BIOS settings to defaults, useful when the system doesn't boot because of memory options set over-aggressively. The 2-digit diagnostic display can be used for debugging system issues during system initialization. The displayed debug codes can be decoded using the table from the motherboard manual. The Probelt voltage measurement points allow for direct board voltage measurement using a volt meter.
The CPU socket area is clear of obstructions allowing for use of most coolers without issue with the board. The board comes standard with 8+2 power phases for CPU power delivery, more than enough to push your CPU to its limits. The VRMs are cooled by large passive aluminum heat sinks to the upper and right sides of the CPU socket. Notice that the VRM's chokes have integrated metal covers with ridges to aid in passive cooling. The CMOS battery is located to the upper left of the CPU socket, out of the way of most components.
The primary and secondary 4-pin CPU fan headers are located to the outside of the lower VRM heat sink, along the right edge of the board.
The single 8-pin ATX12V power connector sits to the upper right of the CPU socket and VRM sinks.